Health: Being healthy from the start

By Judy Mattingly/Franklin Co. Health Dept., Published:

Each year the first full week of April is National Public Health Week, a time to recognize the important contributions of public health.

This year’s National Public Health Week theme is “Public Health: Start Here.” Topics included in this theme are: be healthy from the start; don’t panic; get out ahead; eat well; and be the healthiest nation in one generation.

Public health starts at home with maternal health, family nutrition and emergency preparedness. The Franklin County Health Department has many resources to help families.

Health Access Nurturing Development Services, or HANDS, is a free program for first-time parents. Families are eligible if this is the first child for either the mother or the father and participation can begin during pregnancy or until the child is three months old.

The program continues until the child’s second birthday and includes home visits with fun activities covering healthy pregnancy, caring for their child, how to bond with their child, how to provide enriching learning experiences, creating a safe and healthy home, community resources and child development.

FCHD also provides prenatal services for eligible Franklin County residents and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) supplemental nutrition to eligible mothers.

Disaster preparedness starts with community-wide commitment and action. FCHD coordinates with partners to develop response plans in the case of natural and manmade hazards.

To prepare for emergencies families should remember that the first 72 hours are on you. Visit for a list of supplies that should be included in a three-day home emergency kit, tips for making a plan and educating children.

Prevention is now a nationwide priority. Seven in 10 U.S. deaths are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.  

FCHD offers evidenced based classes such Cooper Clayton Smoking Cessation and Diabetes Self Management Education to help prevent chronic diseases. FCHD also works with partners to promote school, worksite and community-wide policies that encourage physically active and tobacco free lifestyles.   

The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex.

FCHD inspects and regulates public facilities including retail food stores and restaurants to prevent food borne illnesses. FCHD also offers medical nutrition therapy, cooking classes and nutrition education presentations.  

Be the healthiest nation in one generation. For the first time in decades, the current generation isn’t as healthy as the one that came before.  

FCHD mobilizes community partners through the Franklin County MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) coalition to assess health status and develop strategies for community health improvement. All individuals and agencies interested in population health improvement are encouraged to participate in MAPP.  

Although many may not realize it, public health affects everyone.

For more information about FCHD services visit or call 502-564-7647. Like FCHD on Facebook to receive alerts about upcoming classes and events. More information about National Public Health Week can be accessed at  

Judy Mattingly holds a Master of Arts in Health Communication degree and is the accreditation coordinator at the Franklin County Health Department, 100 Glenns Creek Rd.

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